We need a superannuation revolution

Cross-posted from Online Opinion: Even those who do not like him will acknowledge that Australia owes a huge debt of gratitude to Paul Keating. During his term as Prime Minister two decades ago, he established compulsory superannuation despite a hostile Opposition that declared it to be a step towards socialism. A few weeks ago, I


Abbott digs in against superannuation reform

By Leith van Onselen Tony Abbott is sticking to his “captain’s call” refusing to reform superannuation, reaffirming his stance in a radio interview this morning on The ABC: “…your superannuation savings are safe under this Government. We promised before the election there would be no adverse changes to superannuation in this term of parliament. There


Super benefits who?

by Chris Becker The first rule when scrutinising anything that comes from the unproductive FIRE sector is to of course take any reports, press releases or other with a huge grain of salt. When it comes from the huge $2 trillion superannuation industry, we must be doubly cautious. Indeed, a new report from the private Association of Superannuation


The Coalition has wedged itself on superannuation

By Leith van Onselen To say that the Abbott Government has misread the mood on superannuation reform is an understatement. Apart from a few in the loony right, it seems the overwhelming majority of interest groups and “experts” have called for superannuation reform, including: The Council of the Ageing; The Australia Institute; The Grattan Institute;


Actuaries, industry funds, call for super reform

By Leith van Onselen The Actuaries Institute has called for urgent and sensible reform of the superannuation and retirement incomes system, recommending the following in its response to the government’s tax discussion paper: introducing a lifetime cap of around $2.5 million on superannuation savings which can be transitioned into a superannuation income stream which pays


David Murray: Reform superannuation now

By Leith van Onselen The list of groups that Tony Abbott has put off side with his “strategic” captain’s call not to touch Australia’s wasteful and inequitable superannuation concessions continues to grow with Financial System Inquiry head, David Murray, arguing that inaction to reform super will only make the system more vulnerable. From The AFR:


Treasury admits super reform is inevitable

By Leith van Onselen It seems that along with Treasurer Joe Hockey,  John Fraser is another unwilling participant in Tony Abbott’s “strategic” captain’s call not to touch Australia’s wasteful and inequitable superannuation concessions. Appearing at the Senate estimates committee hearing in Canberra yesterday, Fraser all but admitted that superannuation reform is inevitable, given its growing


Hockey claims super reform “inevitable”

By Leith van Onselen It seems Treasurer Joe Hockey was an unwilling participant in Tony Abbott’s “strategic” captain’s call not to touch Australia’s wasteful and inequitable superannuation concessions. Appearing on ABC’s Q&A program last night, Treasurer Hockey refused to rule-out reforming superannuation in the future, admitting that the system would need to be addressed eventually


McCrann guzzles kool-aid on super concessions

By Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Terry McCrann penned a curious piece over the weekend, supporting Tony Abbott’s claims that “there is a world of difference between taxpayer-funded benefits and people’s own savings [superannuation concessions]”: A tax expenditure is not the same thing as an actual expenditure… The critical intersection of all this is the


Pascometer talks super sense

Fairfax’s Michael Pascoe (the “Pascometer”) is talking way too much sense these days, today tackling the prickly issue of superannuation: Superannuation tax expenditure – that is, what the various super tax breaks cost the budget – will soon match the cost of the actual pension and do very little to reduce pension costs… “The tax


Super debacle Abbott’s last ‘captain’s call’

By Leith van Onselen The Coalition is going to rue the day that it decided against replacing Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. After Abbott’s failed ‘captain’s calls’ on the flawed Paid Parental Leave, Prince Philip’s knighthood, and the dumping of chief whip Phillip Ruddock (amongst others), it has been revealed that the decision to rule-out


Coalition mis-judges superannuation opposition

By Leith van Onselen Joe Hockey’s pronouncement on Budget night that there would be “no new taxes on superannuation under this government” appears to have backfired, angering seniors groups and undermining their support for reforms to the Aged Pension. Appearing last night on the ABC’s 7.30 Report, key lobby groups for older Australians – the


Abbott bastardises superannuation debate

By Leith van Onselen Tony Abbott has truly taken the piss today on superannuation, slamming Labor’s planned reforms as an attack on people’s hard earned savings. From The AFR: “This is one (of the) fundamental differences between the Coalition and the Labor Party. We respect people’s savings. We don’t think that superannuation is government money.


ALP draws battle lines on superannuation

By Leith van Onselen The federal Labor Opposition is preparing to fight the next election on superannuation concessions, holding firm to the belief that the current system is wholly unsustainable and the Government’s “no touch” approach is fiscally irresponsible and inequitable. From The Guardian: Budget figures show that the accumulated cost of concession for superannuation


Super must be addressed sooner rather than later

By Leith van Onselen For me, the biggest disappointment from last week’s Federal Budget was the vow by Treasurer Joe Hockey that this Government would not touch superannuation. In doing so, Hockey effectively locked-in former Treasurer, Peter Costello’s, egregious superannuation reforms, including: granting tax free superannuation status for retirees (over 60s) – a move dubbed


Abbott reinforces the super untouchables

by Chris Becker The latest on reform today from the AFR is the total abandoning of any pension/retirement changes: The Abbott government has dumped plans for an inquiry into retirement incomes and toughened its opposition to changing the tax treatment of superannuation by ruling it out beyond the next election as well. Seeking to define the pre-election battlelines


Self-censoring on Superannuation

When applying for a job recently I was asked to write a 500 word opinion piece about using superannuation funds for home deposits. I didn’t get the job so there is no reason to waste 500 good words; I’ve published he piece at the bottom of this post. But that’s not what this post is


Coalition to right Costello’s SMSF wrong

By Leith van Onselen Assistant Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has revealed that the Abbott Government is considering limiting the ability of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) to leverage into investments. From The AFR: Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government will crack down on borrowing by self-managed superannuation funds but will not follow a recommendation of the


Costello hypocrisy turns nuclear

By Leith van Onselen Peter Costello’s hypocrisy has turned nuclear, today lecturing politicians to stop meddling with superannuation. From The AFR: “Increasing taxes on superannuation, which is a long term savings vehicle, usually involves taking now at a cost to be borne sometime in the future”… “Governments are interested in the here and now –


More super idiocy from Abbott Government

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government continues to be all over the shop on retirement policy. With the Budget in long-term structural decline, and superannuation concessions projected grow by a whopping 10.8% per annum between 2014-15 and 2017-18 to some $49 billion, the Coalition has criticised Labor’s modest proposal to reduce super concessions enjoyed


Grattan: Labor’s super reforms not enough

By Leith van Onselen Echoing my post this morning, the Grattan Institute has responded to the Labor Party’s proposed superannuation reforms, arguing that they are nowhere near enough. From The AFR: “Super has essentially become a large tax avoidance scheme for the well off,” Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley said. “The ALP’s proposals are


More heat on dividend imputation rort

By Leith van Onselen Following reports earlier this month that dividend imputation credits received by tax-free (mostly wealthy) superannuation holders over the age of 60 are costing the Budget some $6 billion a year in forgone revenue, The Australia Institute (TAI) has released a new study showing that Australia’s $29 billion system of franking credits


The great super fee gouge rolls on

By Leith van Onselen Last year, the Murray Financial System Inquiry showed that the operating costs of Australia’s superannuation funds are among the highest in the world: And that fees had not fallen in line with what could have been expected given the substantial increase in scale, which will dramatically reduce consumer’s retirement nest eggs:


Treasury head slams grey gouge

By Leith van Onselen The Secretary of the Australian Treasury, John Fraser, has given a scathing assessment of Australia’s retirement system, arguing that the interaction between superannuation, the Aged Pension, and housing tax breaks have created a labyrinth of middle-class welfare. From Fleur Anderson at The AFR: “It’s difficult not to speak about so-called middle-class